Staying Alive...

in Writing & Reviews4 months ago

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Image by Marko Lovric from Pixabay


Mr. Brown woke up with that familiar feeling of emptiness deep inside him. It was not just emotions, he actually felt like an engine devoid of required fuel. It was this raw natural desire to literally be filled that made him get up everyday, nothing else.

He dragged himself slowly out of his not too comfortable bed; though sleep was one of the little things left which he enjoyed, he couldn't fathom it in this state. For a moment he contemplated washing himself, but the thought of water dripping down his empty body didn't particularly sound appealing this morning. Besides, he could.. no, he would still get to wash later at the factory.

So he put away all other thoughts and proceeded to dress up. His movements were mechanical out of years of constant practice, if you could call it that. The factory uniform was now more like a second skin than a work attire. In less than two minutes he was done. It used to take him about three minutes plus, but in order to avoid straining his knees, he had requested for work boots which didn't require lacing. He was 57, he wasn't as strong anymore. Now he simply inserted and removed his feet when necessary. He picked up his tool bag and made for the door.

Once outside, he considered taking the more scenic route to the ration store. But as if on cue, the empty feeling fell back upon him like a vengeful spirit. It was a not so gentle reminder of the need to refill. There was no choice really, he took the short route through Labour Street.

For what it lacked in buildings and infrastructure, Labour Street made up for in people. This was by no means a "sightless" route, the variety of people on offer was enough to feed a hungry eye. But this wasn't the food old Mr. Brown wanted, or needed. Instead he trudged on slowly and mechanically, his head bowed low, just like the rest of the crowd on Labour Street. A dull, slow, rhythmic march towards internal satisfaction.

But Brown's mind was active. He thought of the good old days before the ill fated genetic experiment. He was still but a little child then, but then he remembered the crux of it... The genuine pleasure he took in waking up, the raw natural desire to be filled, and oh, the pure unrivalled satisfaction of the very act of eating. Boy, did he remember!

But now even as he positioned himself at the end of the line to receive his morning ration, he felt no zeal, just the need to feel refilled. That in itself, was maybe enough for some. But for those old souls like him, who desired not just life but to live, it could never be enough, would never be enough.

The ration lady handed him his tray. She was probably around her late 40's. She looked no different from the others, but Brown knew with a certainty he alone understood that hers was also an old soul like his was. He sometimes wondered why she bothered with work at the kitchen, it could only make her think the more of that which was.
He shrugged mentally and collected his meal. A combo of water and a thick mound of transparent cake. He ate it all, but he tasted nothing...

...

The day went by as slowly as it had begun. Work at the factory paused at noon for afternoon rations. Then, Brown saw her again as he repeated the climax of his morning routine; eat without culinary satisfaction. Then back to work.

But at 6.00pm when he eventually washed himself, there was a difference about him as the call was made for the last ration of the day. It was minute, almost unnoticeable, but it was there. For the first time all day, there was a spring in Old Mr. Brown's step. He didn't go to the ration store this time, he went straight home.

And she was there, waiting for him. She was notably different from the times when he had seen her earlier today. She may be in her late 40's, but in non-work clothes she looked more alive, less mechanical. She had brought enough rations for two, so they wouldn't be empty...

But that wasn't the reason for the spring in his step, or the smile now on his face. No, it was her, the very fact that she had brought herself to him, to fill them up. For even if the ill fated genetic experiment had denied humans the ability to taste food, there was nothing as spicy as the taste of a woman, a fellow human. The taste of life...

And this they still had...

Tonight they would forget about the rest of the world, and by the taste of the present they would relive the past. And tomorrow, everything would begin again...

THE END

#SladenSpeaks


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Cheers!

Cc: @fendit @belenguerra @writingnreviews


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 4 months ago 

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